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Daily Inspiration: Meet Mariel Robles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariel Robles.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born in Mexico and have been living in Texas for more than 20 years. Art and Education have been valuable pursuits for my family for over a century; from designing their own clothing to metalworking to educating in rural communities, to visiting and learning in museums around the world. I have always enjoyed learning and began teaching during my second year in college. Since then, I have been working in the education field and have extensive experience creating STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) programs and curriculum for schools, universities, nonprofits, museums, and private groups. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering 2006 from The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley and a Masters in Education from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014.

The opportunity to educate over a thousand multicultural families and to take ceramics courses at The Contemporary’s Art School inspired me to create programs for underserved communities around ATX. One of my latest projects, The STEAM and Literacy Program, served Posada Esperanza for almost two years. Posada is a local nonprofit that shelters immigrants and refugees from around the world. With the purpose of healing with education, we visited the students and their mothers once a month to create STEAM art and read children’s literature. When I was unable to continue this work in person due to restrictions on visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, I created my own company, XX Apothecary, founded in November 2020. Among other things, we make contemporary designs and offer STEAM Education programs for our community. I currently live in Pflugerville, Texas with my family. In my free time; I make art, practice yoga, read, cook, travel and have fun being a soccer mom.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Life as a working mom is one of the biggest challenges and most rewarding experiences. Attending graduate classes when my first son was eight weeks old was extremely challenging and exhausting, I felt like crying all the time. Time has passed, my boys are older, more independent, and their presence is an essential part of who I am today. We are growing together, learning and helping each other pursue our dreams. Balancing motherhood and career is a challenge but it has made me a better human and professional.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” –Albert Einstein

The art of education is an essential part of my life, the way you explain or teach a subject to make students fall in love and want to learn more. Also, an important part of education is lifelong learning. Part of my learning involves visiting the latest museum exhibitions, reading new books and creating art with cutting-edge materials. I believe that art museums are enlightening and meditative spaces that provide aesthetic exp​​eriences and extensive learning opportunities. I am an active member of The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, TX and The Guggenheim Museum in New York City. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge and passion by creating fun STEAM programs for my community. XX Apothecary currently offers STEAM Education programs, camps and workshops for all ages. Lastly, my native Spanish speaking skills help me tremendously in my work, and especially when we travel. I love the way my sons look-up to my fluency in Spanish and get inspired to learn a second language.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
That learning never stops. Whether taking a workshop, reading a book, or learning a new language. It is all about finding a career that you really love and make it your life. And to Travel, I have been traveling since I was three. Since then, I have made travel part of my life. Travel provides you with a new perspective to the way you live and understand the world, the people and the different cultures.

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